Couples Therapy vs. Marriage Counseling
- By: Jane
For couples going through a difficult period, marriage counseling and couples therapy are two common options. Even though many people confuse the two procedures, they are actually quite different.
Couples therapy and marital counseling are two options available to couples who are experiencing stress in their relationship.
In both scenarios, you'll be expected to sit down as a couple and speak with an expert or a licensed professional who has formal academic training in marriage or relationships in general as part of the process.
You'll learn about marital counseling and couples therapy in this post.
Marriage counseling assists couples in dealing with the difficulties of married life. The objective is to re-establish the relationship. It focuses on the challenges that couples encounter regularly. Marriage counseling gives you the chance to talk about your disagreements and compromises.
Counseling, more than anything else, assists both of you in addressing your issues to build a healthier and happier relationship.
Marriage counseling also includes teaching the couple how to communicate effectively. Counseling can aid in the restoration of trust or the rekindling of the flame.
Is marriage counseling effective? Yes, it is quite helpful since it focuses on assisting the couple in coping with the many types of stress that they may face in their relationship.
Marriage counseling is often a short-term targeted therapy, whereas treatments are a multi-session therapeutic procedure.
One might even claim that counseling for married couples covers therapy, and this overlap is what causes people to mistake the two.
Marriage counseling is commonly sought by couples before their wedding as part of their preparation for starting a married relationship. Marriage therapy attempts to improve conflict resolution skills and the capacity to comprehend marital differences and ensure that marriage is a move that both partners are comfortable with. As a manner of preparation for married life, it focuses on the present rather than the past. Marriage therapy assists married couples in understanding the complexities of married life, particularly when making major family decisions.
The marital counselor will advise you on the finest course or direction for your family or relationship. It also assists married couples who have experienced marital trauma or a breach of trust in rekindling the flame and mending the trust. Constant fighting, sexual problems, financial problems, and divorce are just a few reasons why married couples seek marital counseling. Marriage counseling is generally only for a brief period of time.
Couples therapy, on the other hand, will need to address your problems at their source. That involves looking back to the beginning of your prior disagreements and disputes to see where it all began.
It differs from marriage counseling in that it can address your private and personal difficulties to understand better the behavior you are displaying in the relationship.
It's more about figuring out the whys and hows in a relationship
So, what exactly is couples therapy? Therapy will provide an answer to the question, "Why do we have these problems?" as well as help you identify which aspects of your relationship you should focus on.
This isn't to say that only couples with this level of difficulty are allowed into treatment. You may also consult a couple’s therapist to work on compatibility concerns and get advice from someone who knows what they're talking about.
Couples therapy has a stigma associated with it, which is an issue. This stigma is counterproductive.
Instead of looking for a solution, many couples avoid getting the help they need. Many couples would rather not go to therapy for fear of being judged by others than give their relationship a chance to improve.
It is the last resort for them, while it should be one of the first choices.
Couples therapy focuses on identifying and resolving the source of your marital problems. Couples therapy concentrates on the past and the dynamics of the relationship rather than the current situation. The therapy focuses on personal concerns to assist both parties in understanding their relationship behaviors. It entails discussing prior conflicts, infidelities, and abuse to uncover the elements causing your relationship to deteriorate.
It can also assist couples in dealing with difficult events such as deaths and concerns of compatibility. Couples counseling is commonly sought for various reasons, including communication challenges, blended families, sexual concerns, and abuse. Couples counseling can be short-term or long-term, depending on the circumstances.
Signs you need couples therapy or marriage counseling
Attending couples therapy does not imply that your marriage is in trouble; rather, it indicates that you've acknowledged the need to speak with a third person to understand your relationship better and work through some residual concerns.
The following are signals that you should seek therapy or marriage counseling.
You don't communicate with each other
If you're unable or reluctant to communicate with your spouse, if you're concealing anything from them (financial issues, a dismissal), or if you don't want to open up and chat, you should get therapy as soon as possible.
To keep a marriage together, communication is essential. Similarly, if you notice that little chats turn into huge fights, you should seek counseling.
Arguments are impossible to resolve
If you keep having the same disagreements, there's something bigger going on that's not being addressed. After a disagreement, it's difficult or impossible to fix, so you sweep it under the rug, but it never seems really resolved. You're dealing with a persistent problem that follows a pattern yet leaves you and your partner feeling unheard. You can both get to the root of what makes you feel hurt or upset and address it via counseling.
Your sex life is in trouble
Lack of sex leads to a lack of intimacy or connection, which can spill over into other aspects of your marital life. This is a sensitive issue for many couples, which frequently leads to it being disregarded and further difficulties.
You don't parent in the same way
In any parenting setting, this is extremely frequent. The good cop is one parent, while the de-facto disciplinarian is the other. It's acceptable if this is addressed and agreed upon. When it isn't, a major issue arises. Resentments might grow over time, especially if the complaints aren't expressed or recognized.
You have a disconnected feeling
It's a sign that things need to change if you and your spouse feel like you're merely going through the motions of living together, paying bills, doing chores, and taking care of the kids, rather than genuinely connecting and working on your life together. Even while you're together, the sensation of alienation can be so persistent that you both feel alone and alienated.
You fight in a dirty way
Even the healthiest couples aren't without their quarrels. Those arguments can often escalate into full-fledged clashes. However, if you hit below the belt during an argument, or if you rely on hurtful words rather than productive ones, you'll be in trouble.
You're a grudge-holder
You have to let things go in a marriage. You're not always going to agree, you're not always going to get along, and one of you will inevitably piss the other off. When this happens, the key is to be able to let go. If you hang on to resentments or negative sentiments, they will infect every part of your relationship with your partner. If you're holding grudges against someone, it's time to get treatment.
You have thoughts of leaving
Let's be honest for a moment. After a particularly vexing disagreement, we've all considered packing up and leaving town. However, once the anger has subsided, those ideas fade away, and you and your partner may resume your normal lives. When such sentiments grow more persistent, and you begin to imagine life as a single person or with another partner, it's an indication that you've given up on this relationship.